MacAskill: Bail proposals will fail communities

Mr MacAskill said:

We have been calling for action on this matter
for some time and would welcome any proposals to tighten our bail
procedures. But these proposals do not go far enough to protect
Scotland's communities.

There is simply nothing in this
announcement which would tighten up the rules for granting bail and
this fundamentally fails every community in Scotland.

Labour has
been dragging their feet on the issue and today's proposals just
confirm that they have yet again failed to address this serious problem.

We need immediate action so that those charged with serious offences
are not released on bail. But we also need a long-term review of the
overall bail system which has been brought into disrepute, lost the
confidence of the people and is granted inappropriately to serious
offenders and breached with impunity by minor offenders.

There
should be a root and branch review of the system, not just tinkering
around the edges. The number of people breaking their bail conditions
has increased in every year of this Labour government, going back to
1997.

It is time for the bluster to stop and for Jack
McConnell and Cathy Jamieson to face up to the fundamental problems of
the operation of bail in Scotland. We need comprehensive reform, not
announcements filled with rhetoric rather than real change.

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